Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 16: “Blade Runners”
Written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming
Directed by Serge Ladouceur
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
Over the course of the past two seasons, Abaddon has emerged as a major threat in the world of Supernatural. Her attempts to take over Hell have made strange bedfellows, as both the Winchesters and Crowley have come to agree on the fact that she needs to be eliminated. Having acquired the Mark of Cain, this week’s episode sees Dean, Sam, and Crowley follow the trail of the First Blade, in a solid episode that reveals another branch of the history behind the Men of Letters.
Crowley’s current position with the Winchesters is a fascinating one. Over the course of the season, the two have become unmistakably co-dependent. As Crowley points out this week, it’s because of him that Gadreel was expelled from Sam’s body. In addition, while it was for self-serving purposes, it’s also because of Crowley that the brothers now have a way to kill Abaddon. However, Crowley himself has equally relied on the Winchesters, the latest example of which is him calling Sam and Dean after he learns of Lola’s betrayal. It will be interesting to see how this relationship evolves, particularly if and when Abaddon is no longer in the picture. Despite a clear dislike of Crowley, the Winchesters are in effect helping him regain control of Hell by going after Abaddon, an arrangement they may decide to continue. Knowing Crowley and the way in which he operates gives the Winchesters a unique advantage when dealing with demons, and it would be completely understandable if the brothers decided to help him stay in power going forward to ensure they have this advantage, no matter how small it may seem at times. What this will mean for the Winchesters and their place in the fight against supernatural entities will say a lot. Crowley will definitely have other people looking to usurp him, and may fall off the wagon himself, and what part the brothers will end up playing in those situations will be worth keeping an eye on.
Dean’s relationship to the First Blade also promises to be a compelling one. It’s clear from the events of this week that the Blade is no ordinary weapon, and has an effect on the wielder, an effect that Dean wasn’t expecting and is clearly unable to handle. With Crowley now owning the weapon, the nature of Dean’s relationship to the Blade will be withheld, but now that Dean has received a taste of the blade, it will be worth watching to see how he reacts to it once he regains possession. In addition, the manner in which the Blade affects Dean can also prove fascinating. His actions this episode suggest that Dean could be overcome with power when in possession of the Blade, or could have trouble seeing the world beyond black and white, both of which would make for fascinating conflicts, particularly with the world of grey that the brothers live in. How Sam reacts to Dean’s troubles will also be worth keeping an eye on. Having gone through both an addiction to demon blood and the Trials, Sam is in a position to understand and empathise with Dean, a position Dean never was in relation to Sam before. However, Sam’s recent hostility towards his brother in light of circumstances may also prevent the younger Winchester from reaching out to help Dean. Which action Sam takes will have a huge impact on how Dean handles the power that comes with the First Blade and the Mark of Cain.
Overall, this is an entertaining episode. Crowley’s return is always welcome, and it’s no different this week, with the King of Hell weeping over Casablanca a particularly amusing highlight. Magnus is an interestingly formidable villain this week, and his death is regrettable, as he appeared to be a character worth exploring. His capability with spells could have given the Winchesters a new challenge down the road, or a valuable yet different kind of ally in alternate circumstances. With the First Blade somewhat in Dean’s possessions, it will be intriguing to explore just how powerful a weapon it is. The Blade’s ability to kill the Knights of Hell is unlikely to be its only strength, and the more powerful it turns out to be, the more in demand Dean will becomes. This will be particularly compelling if the Blade is discovered to be effective against Angels, leading Castiel to recruit Dean in his attempts to re-open Heaven, or Metatron to get Dean to take Gadreel’s place as Metatron’s chief enforcer. With the Blade now firmly in play, the battle for Hell is bound to heat up once again. How Crowley manages to keep the Blade out of Abaddon’s hands, as well as how the Winchesters manage to keep her at bay will be worth looking out for as the season continues.
– Deepayan Sengupta